As therapists, we are used to going it alone. We sit alone in a room with our clients, with only our training and intuition to guide us. If we get into a therapeutic jam, we call upon one of our many tools from our internal therapist’s toolkit, to guide us through the session. We sit with all manner of feelings, and do our best to be fully present and available to our clients.
But, who, then, is there for us?
Too many healers forgo the benefits of seeking help. Maybe it’s an occupational hazard, but, when it comes to asking for assistance, therapists are the worst! We feel that we can do it all ourselves, and that we shouldn’t need anyone’s advice. Perhaps, we are afraid that asking for help will expose our inadequacies. Well, isn’t that ironic?! (Don’t ya think?)
Some therapists don’t ask for help because they just don’t know who to ask. When your days are filled seeing clients, it can be hard to find the time to research other professionals, and to figure out which ones match your therapeutic outlook and style.
Whatever the reasons for not seeking support, there are some key times when it’s absolutely necessary to consult with another professional.
When You Are Experiencing Counter-Transference
You don’t have to practice psychoanalytic therapy to know that counter-transference is real. Is there a client that bugs you every time he walks in the room? Do you find yourself more tired, irritated, or restless with a certain client? Do you find yourself going past the hour, or otherwise crossing your boundaries for someone? These are all signs that counter-transference is occurring in your therapeutic relationship. Talking about how you feel with another professional will allow you to address these issues, so that you can stop bringing your own “stuff” into the therapy room.
When Your Client Is Experiencing Transference
If a client is experiencing transference toward you, it can be extremely draining. Therapists are used to being the object of projections, but when transference is involved, the projections are magnified. You could be accused of feeling all sorts of ways that you don’t actually feel, and that gets old quickly! Consulting with another professional can give you the tools that you need to manage this tricky situation.
When A Case Is Out Of Your Area Of Expertise
We all have our own areas of expertise, as well as issues that we routinely refer out. But, what about situations that aren’t so black and white? Maybe a long-term client discloses an issue that you weren’t initially aware of. Do you refer her out after building a relationship with her? Or, do you bring in a consultant, just to work on that issue? These are decisions that can be made easier with the help of another listener.
Although the situations we mentioned definitely require consultation, we believe that establishing quality relationships with other professionals is always important. Contact us at Therapy Hive to learn more about our group, and how we can help you stay connected with other practitioners!